A letter to my current self.
Hey you.. Yes, you.. I see you at your computer. You’re working hard, and it’s awesome. You’ve come SUCH a long way, and I’m so proud of you! You followed your dream despite fear, self-doubt, and deaf ears that were not listening to what you wanted, and made you think you were “cutting yourself short”. Thank goodness for your family for believing in you. You battled through your masters and a law degree only to surprise many and best of all, yourself, by becoming a full time photographer. Brave my love, BRA-VA.
Remember this just 4 years ago? When you thought you had hit the jackpot? Ps: this isn’t vintage, it’s straight up awful. (I’m so sorry client!)
You have traveled long and hard, but my love, you have a long way to go. Professionally, and personally. You aren’t where you want to be with your work, you won’t ever be. And if you think you’ve reached it, you’ll fail yourself. Keep climbing. You’ve taught your first workshop, learn from it, and teach again. Your art and your eye need to mature far beyond where you are now, so please don’t fear critique. I know you do, but it’s the only way you will grow. Take it with grace and love. Look at what direction you want your photography to go in. Be bold, be true to yourself and pursue it. Do whatever it takes. If not, you will start to resent your craft. It happened before, don’t let it happen again. Trust yourself, trust who you are, and most of all, value yourself. If you don’t you cannot ask someone else to. You’ve fallen here so many times because you want to please everyone. You’ve been humiliated because someone didn’t think you were worthy enough to pay what you deserve, and you were made to feel like a slimy cheat. Stand tall, those who respect you, and value you will make room for your art, their memories.
Please don’t lose your passion for documentary work. I know it’s not paying the bills, but it’s where your heart is. Follow all the projects you have envisioned, do the ground work to gain access. You’ve started, do NOT stop.
Photography is in your blood. You devour courses for breakfast lunch and dinner, often times neglecting the real, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Take a moment. Step away from the computer, and look at your family. The years have melted and two thirds of the images on your hard drive are of your clients. Think of how this makes your family feel. Turn the computer off, turn the phone off. Get the next train on Instagram and Facebook. Believe me, there will be more coming. The girls, your husband – they need your attention. All of it at times. Undivided, 100%. Don’t teach them that strangers on social media are more important than them. Please take this advice.
Turn the camera on them as much as you do with clients. In 40 years, they want to know you saw them the way you see people who pay you. In fact, no, you don’t want that. You want them to see that you felt for them more than any paying client. Right now, they don’t. Turn the camera on them, even if they hate it, because trust me, when life means more to them than sitting in front of the TV, they are going to want those images. So make them now.
You have such a road ahead of you. Take every opportunity that comes your way, and keep putting one foot in front of the other.
About the photographer:
Hi there! I’m Aniya, a wedding and family photographer based on the teeny weeny island of Barbados. I’m married to super-cute Matteo, and mom to my gorgeous angels, Ella (11) and Adi, (10). I’m completely self-taught. Photography was never my first career choice – I’m a criminologist with a law degree. Photography caught up with me, and I couldn’t leave it alone. I’m a horrible dancer, but think it’s one of life’s greatest things to do. I’m a surfer, a traveler and a laughter. Love Actually, The Goonies and Ratatouille are my favorite movies. EVER. And did I mention I love chatting to new people? You can find me below 🙂